KU PRESIDENT’S UPDATE
F. Javier Cevallos
Dear Kutztown University Community,
The change of month brings the change of weather and the start of a very busy home stretch for the fall semester.
There are many important items to share at this time, so I will begin:
FIRST, A CORRECTION
In my previous message I mentioned that we had received two NSF Grants, and then I went to say that those were the first ones we had in a decade. I was wrong. We have received a few more NSF grants in the past. The largest were the two received by Dr. Ed Vitz totaling over a million dollars. My apologies to Dr. Vitz and all others for this oversight.
I asked our PULSE Team to convene to discuss the position the university has taken with past demonstrations on our campus, including the most recent demonstration on October 19th. PULSE, chaired by Dr. Joseph Chuk of Electronic Media, has representation from faculty and staff and is charged with reviewing issues related to our campus climate. The Team met last week, and presented me with the following report:
“Our police response initiatives pertaining to all events that occur on our publicly funded campus are developed in accordance with established legal guidelines. The PULSE Team is confident that all actions by our Department of Public Safety and Police Services on the 19th were consistent with guidelines that are in place for spontaneous demonstrations. The demonstrators’ message is not the issue - freedom of speech is a constitutionally protected right, and it is our responsibility to protect that right.
Additionally, the PULSE Team recommends that the implications of constitutionally protected freedom of expression be clearly communicated to the campus community, including incoming students through the Connections program.
At any time, if you feel that your rights have been violated, we encourage you to report this to KU Public Safety and Police Services so that an appropriate investigation can be conducted.”
I thank the PULSE Team members for their input, and I concur with their findings; I have asked Bob Watrous, Dean of Student Services and Campus Life, to follow up on the Team’s recommendation and find the best way to ensure our students understand the implications of the protected freedom of expression.
I want to thank all of you who took the time to share your concerns. Through this type of collaboration we will be able to provide a healthy and nourishing college campus environment.
A GOLDEN SEASON
I want to extend a special congratulations and best wishes to our fall athletic teams as they head into the playoff stretch over the next few weeks.
What a memorable season for our undefeated football team, which is currently ranked 15th in NCAA Division II and second in the region. We have already won two more games (9) than any prior season in our 95-year history. This Saturday’s game at Bloomsburg will be the biggest the program has had since the 1980 state title game. If KU defeats Bloomsburg, we will win our first-ever outright PSAC East title (we finished in a three-way tie for the title in 1980,) we will make our second-ever trip to the state championship game, and we will strengthen our chances for a first-ever trip to the NCAA playoff considerably. The task won’t be easy, as we will be trying to beat the Huskies for the first time since 1992. However, anyone who has watched our team play at home over the past three weeks, knows that we can strike quickly on offense, and just pour it on. If you haven’t had a chance to see the team in action this season, fear not. We are hoping for a home playoff game before all is said and done. In the meantime, you can follow the road games on WEEU radio or on the web. Visit www.kubears.com for details.
It was also great to see our Golden Bear women’s soccer team, nationally ranked for 19-straight weeks, return to the conference playoffs with a 5-1 win over Edinboro earlier this week. The Golden Bears will advance to the PSAC semifinals to take on California (Pa.), Friday, November 5 at 1:30 p.m. at West Chester. A second consecutive trip to the NCAA playoffs is also a strong possibility. In addition, our women’s cross country and field hockey teams are ranked nationally, and our women’s volleyball team has posted another winning season and is ranked regionally.
Again, best of luck to all of our teams down the stretch. We are off to a great start in pursuit of the Dixon Trophy.
I want to update you on an important discussion held by the President’s Roundtable on Alcohol and Other Drugs group that affects our students.
The roundtable, whose membership includes the Mayor of Kutztown and several community members, has decided to send letters to local distributors regarding the dangers of “Four Loko,” the new beverage that is being sold at local retailers. Bob Watrous, our dean of students, also sent a letter to all students this week informing them of the dangers of this deceptive beverage. Here is an excerpt from Dean Watrous’ letter:
“Four Loko is an alcohol product containing caffeine. When you mix the two, you are sending mixed messages to your nervous system which can cause cardiac related problems. According to a recent New York Times article, the Food and Drug Administration, which has never approved adding caffeine to alcohol, is reviewing whether the drinks are safe.
Mixing alcohol and caffeine has a different effect on your body. It may increase dehydration, causing difficulties in processing and getting rid of alcohol from your body. It may create an even stronger, negative effect on your coordination, balance and ability to regulate body temperature. Caffeine is a stimulant and may allow the drinker to be more alert, which may mean consuming more alcohol than usual without feeling impaired.
Drinking these products usually results in getting much more intoxicated than intended and can lead to unintended and serious health and safety consequences. Four Loko has caused students to experience walking blackouts, hyper-vigilance, anxiety, heart palpitations, psychosis-like episodes, extreme mood swings, alcohol poisoning and other dangerous consequences. Alcohol poisoning from drinks like Four Loko may be exhibited in similar and dissimilar ways to alcohol poisoning from other types of alcohol.”
Since our faculty and staff have regular interaction with our students, I find it imperative to make everyone aware of this issue. If you would like to have more information about this product, please access this link.
As most of you are aware, the budget situation continues to present challenges for us as we prepare for the 2011-12 academic year. The most recent decision we made was to close the Early Learning Center effective June 3, 2011.
While closing a facility that traces its roots back to our lab school days is hard to do, we must do what is best for the overall health of the College of Education and the university in general.
The potential projected budget gap for our institution for 2011-12 remains at $5.6 to $11.4 million. The university expects to realize about $130,000 in direct savings through the elimination of the Early Learning Center.
We have notified all parents who have children enrolled in the Early Learning Center to allow them sufficient time to make alternate plans for fall 2011. Faculty associated with the center will continue to teach in the College of Education.
The administration in the College of Education will work with Early Learning Center faculty to develop a transition plan for any majors affected by the decision.
A MUST-SEE EXHIBIT
I strongly encourage you to visit the Sharadin Art Gallery to see The Lively Art in Picture Books: Illustrations from the Collection of Dr. Robert Dornish, curated by Kevin McCloskey, Communication Design Department which will be exhibited until November 21.
Dr. Dornish, Kutztown University professor emeritus, shares the highlights of his collection of more than 75 original works created to illustrate children's books. The exhibition features a wide variety of artistic styles created by some of the world's best-known illustrators.
The opening on October 21 attracted approximately 500 guests. Traffic through the gallery has been steady throughout the showing. I hope you will have a chance to see it for yourself. It is a true representation of the quality faculty we have had and continue to have at our institution.
I want to remind all students that I will hold my open hour on November 9 at 11 a.m. at Boehm 260. I encourage you to attend to discuss any concerns or ideas you may have. I also look forward to meeting with our managers at our retreat slated for November 15.
Finally, please accept my wishes for a happy Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you will get some good food, some proper rest and return refreshed for the final few weeks leading to winter commencement on December 18.
F. Javier Cevallos